SEBERANG PERAI: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a RM45 million allocation for a religious boarding school in the Seberang Perai Tengah district, Permatang Pauh today.
He said he approved the allocation as there is no religious school in Permatang Pauh despite the people having asked for one.
The Prime Minister who is on a working visit in Penang made the announcement before having lunch with 21,380 Permatang Pauh residents at the Kenduri Rakyat programme, where he joined the crowd in a mass dining event sitting crossed-legged under tents.
Najib said it is time for a change in Permatang Pauh, a U-turn of sorts, as the person technically responsible for Barisan Nasional (BN) losing Permatang Pauh, a seat it held from 1969 to 1999, has also made a U-turn.
“The people of Permatang Pauh should open a new book and start on a clean slate.
“The reason the fight for Reformasi back then was to fight against this ‘dictator’ also known as Maha-Firaun but now Reformasi doesn’t exist any more as the person who led Reformasi has made up and embraced the dictator who had caused him so much misery.
“So since they have closed that chapter and moved on, so should the people of Permatang Pauh,” he told the crowd, referring to the protest movement that began in the country in 1998 led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after he was sacked from his post by then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
While he did not specifically mention Mahathir, Najib said, in politics, a lot of sincerity is required in order to prevent U-turns.
“Today he says something else but 18 years later something else.
“That’s why when too many U-turns have been made, even chairs start flying, but thank God there are no chairs here,” he quipped, referring to the event that is endorsed by the Malaysia Book of Records for having the most participants in a communal lunch in which attendees sit cross-legged on the floor, or makan bersila as it is known in the Malay language.
Najib also commented that the turnout at today’s event is an indication that the people of Permatang Pauh is ready for a change, one they have been longing for.
He added that even if Permatang Pauh does not belong to BN, BN is still generous with all sorts of assistance for the area.
Najib remarked that the people in Permatang Pauh have been going to Umno and BN for help, as he claimed that the Member of Parliament they voted for is never seen in the constituency.
Apart from that, Najib said there have been allocations he approved without announcements being made about it.
Najib said he was also happy to see the participation of Permatang Pauh PAS division chief Omar Hasan at the event.